Thursday, May 31, 2012


I am on day number four of the vegan diet, and I have no major complaints. In fact, so far it has been really easy.

Before I started the diet I went to the supermarket to take stock of what I could and could not eat. I was disappointed to find out that an Indian lentil dish I really like has cream in it - so it's off the list.  But I was happy to discover that Pad Thai noodles are totally vegan.

My recent supermarket excursion was probably the very first time that I seriously looked at the ingredients on packages of food.  I've looked at price.  I've looked at calories.  But I have never studied the actual ingredients like I did a few days ago. That's really crazy when you think about it.  I am almost 40 and I have never given serious thought about exactly what I put in my body. That's insane, but I am guessing that it's probably pretty typical.

The biggest adjustment in my diet at this point is having to switch to a soy latte at Starbucks, which costs extra unless you have Gold Card. But if you have a Gold Card then there is no extra charge for the soy milk - so at least I've got that going for me.

Monday, May 28, 2012


Top Ten Tips for My 
Newbie Vegan Husband

1. Cheat a Little. I know that when you put your mind to something, you go all out! However, going vegan all at once may not work for you. You may want to give yourself a cheat day once a week. If you continue to stay vegan you can space the cheat days farther apart. If you do cheat (not on me of course!), forgive yourself and don’t throw in the towel over a few poor choices.

2. Experiment. If you try a new vegan food every day you’ll be opening up all sorts of culinary adventures. Have you ever tried tempeh? Coconut ice cream? Meatless meatballs? Hazelnut milk? Veggie burgers? Nutritional Yeast? Vegan pesto? You’ll thank me later.

3. Educate yourself. Find out what constitutes proper vegan nutrition so you won’t simply grab vegan junk food every time hunger strikes. You’ll feel better and your meals will taste better too. 

4. Supplement! If you decide to go vegan long term, plant-based protein powders, Vitamin B-12, Vitamin D2, vegan DHA capsules, iron, and calcium will help ensure that you don’t experience any nutritional deficiencies during your vegan journey.

5. Play the Game. Treat this experience like a game that you want to win! When you are vegan you have to figure out how to take some of your favorite meals and swap out the animal products for vegan ingredients. When traveling you have to find the best vegan restaurant in town. When at Taco Bell you have to tell them what to add and what to subtract from your taco to make it vegan. When attending a potluck you’ll need to dream up a vegan dish that will satisfy you and delight others.

6. Shop Ahead. When shopping for vegan foods, fall in love with the produce and bulk areas at your local health food store. Remember that fruit and nuts are your new fast food. Make sure you read labels for non-vegan ingredients. Most products have an allergen statement listed below the ingredients that will let you know if the product contains milk or eggs. Sometimes the allergens are bolded in the ingredients list. Also, look for whey, casein, rennet, gelatin and carmine in ingredients lists. These items are NOT vegan.

7. Enjoy Accidentally Vegan Items. Believe it or not some items that you already regularly consume are vegan! Peta has a list of accidently vegan items here:

8. Remember Why You’re Taking on this Challenge. Re-read the passages of The World Peace Diet that inspired you the most to make this change. Watch Mercy For Animals’ Farm to Fridge video and other vegan inspired videos on YouTube. Watch Forks Over Knives. Read The Complete Idiot's Guide to Vegan Living.

9. Research and Connect. Join Vegan online groups like, buy a vegan cookbook like Vegan Cooking for Carnivores: Over 125 Recipes So Tasty You Won't Miss the Meat, and find vegetarian and vegan restaurants in your area through

10. Celebrate Your Progress! In three weeks time, step back and reflect on the progress you’ve made. Think about what new fruits and veggies you’ve added to your diet, consider the new vegan foods and recipes that you have discovered that you love, and acknowledge any new connections you’ve made as a result of going vegan. Perhaps you’ve even lost some weight and feel more energized. Celebrate the little victories you’ve made and reward yourself accordingly.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

The World Peace Diet - A Non-Hippie Review

Most hippie books are written by hippies, for hippies, and then later quoted by other hippies in support of their hippie agenda.  So I think it is important to say from the start that I am not a hippie and I didn't read The World Peace Diet with hippie eyes. I like beer, football and red meat; I even voted against the 2008 California ballot initiative that allowed chickens to get out of their cages and walk around for an hour a day. So it's safe to say that my take on this book is from an anti-vegetarian prospective.

Most people eat hamburgers and drink milk and try not to think about how the meat gets on their plate or how the milk gets in their glass. But this book forces you to confront a lot of the issues that the majority of people intentionally or unintentionally avoid.

Why do you eat meat? Is eating meat good for your health? What impact does eating meat have on the environment? Do the animals we consume suffer - and if so, how much?  All of these issues are addressed in the book.

These are difficult questions to examine. Most people probably know that they are not going to like the ultimate answers to these questions, so they avoid dealing with them.  I am no different, I guess, which is why the book sat on my shelf for over a year.  I knew that when I confronted these questions I was going to have a lot of thinking to do.  And I was right.

So why am I a meat eater?  Honestly, I never really thought about it very deeply. Do I eat meat simply because it tastes good? Do I eat meat because humans are designed to eat meat? Do I eat meat because by evolutionary luck humans have found ourselves on top of the food chain? Do I eat meat because I've made the choice that it is essential for good health?

Tuttle claims in his book that I have been socially programed to eat meat. And I think there is some validity to that argument. My parents exposed me to meat (I ate a lot of hot dogs as a kid). Their parents exposed them to meat, and their parents before them, and their parents before them.  That alone doesn't necessarily make eating meat wrong, it just helps explain why I - and maybe you - eat meat.

I must confess, the idea that we are socially programed to eat meat really fascinates me and it got me thinking about all the other things in life that people have been socially programed to do and think - religion is one thing that springs to mind. This probably isn't the intended message of the book - but it is the concept that personally struck the biggest chord with me. But I digress... Back to the book.

Tuttle makes some valid points on many other fronts, as well. He argues that it is morally wrong to consume animals, it is unhealthy to eat animals, and it is bad for the environment to eat animals, just to name a few. Several times he goes off the rails and gets a little too hippie on me. For example -- this isn't in the book but instead took place after the lecture I saw him give -- he offered to compose, for a small fee, a piece of music for me based on the connection he felt from my aura. Now, the dude can really play the piano - but no thanks.

I do have to confess, he makes some strong arguments to support his position that we should stop eating meat, fish and dairy, and that instead people should switch to plant based diet. Now, coming from a fervent anti-vegetarian this is hard to digest (pun intended).

For example, the book highlights the pain and suffering the animals we consume are forced to endure, which is 100 times harsher than I ever imagined.  I am not sure why, but the suffering of the average dairy cow is something I learned about in the book and it greatly troubles me.

Before I read the book, when I had a glass of milk, which I love to drink, I didn't give much thought to how that milk went from the cow to my refrigerator, and I definitely didn't give much thought to the quality of life of the cow that produced the milk. "Happy cows live in California,"like the TV commercial says. Right? Wrong!

If I considered cows at all, I had a vision of an old farmer getting up early in the morning, going out to the barn, milking his cow by hand, the milk going into an old bucket, and then somehow that milk got magically transported to me.  But that's not how it happens.

Deep down inside I probably knew that there aren't happy cows in California, or anywhere else for that matter.  I knew that there was no old farmer milking the cows by hand, but I just blocked it out of my mind like most people do, and I just enjoyed my glass of cold milk. The World Peace Diet forced me to honestly confront the process of how the milk I love gets to me, and the tremendous suffering endured by dairy cows in order for me to drink my milk.

I am not going to go in to detail about the animal suffering or environment impact.  You'll have to read the book for yourself - if you are ready.  But I truly think that everyone - especially meat eaters should read this book and educate yourself about the food you eat and the food you feed your kids. At the end of the day if you still choose to eat meat that's your choice - but at least it will be an educated choice.

So, now that I've read the book and a lot of these issues are at the front of my mind - what am I going to do about it?  Well, I am going to go vegan for 21 days, starting on May 28th. Right after I watch the Indy 500 and eat a fridge full of pork sausage.

I'll keep you posted on both my progress and struggles - I anticipate a lot of struggles. At this point, it's just an experiment and not a permanent life altering choice. It's possible that being a vegan is just too hard, but I'll give it a try - because deep down inside I know it's the right thing to do for many reasons - all illustrated in The World Peace Diet. But remember, even if I go vegan I am still not a hippie!

Friday, May 11, 2012

The Herbal Remedy Wife’s Thoughts on Veganism

First of all, what is a vegan diet? In a nutshell it’s a plant-based diet that includes no beef, no chicken, no pork, no seafood, no dairy, and definitely not these lovely chicks that were hatched from a carton of eggs using an incubator. 

Let me start by saying that I am not a vegan - at least not a pure vegan. I did attempt to be a hard core vegan for several months, but it is really challenging to swim against mainstream society - and it's even harder to find tasty vegan cookies. 

Now I would describe myself as more an aspiring vegan, or an every other Wednesday kind of vegan. 

During my exploration with veganism I've discovered that it is probably the best diet for your health, your conscious, and it is the best thing for our planet; knowing this makes me feel great - even if I'm only 97% vegan. 
Honestly, The Skeptical Husband and I had never considered why we eat an animal-based diet, and we never considered how it might affect our health and the health of the planet. Then we made the brilliant mistake of attending a lecture by Will Tuttle, author of The World Peace Diet, and we were forced to think about these things. 

Standing before us was a lean, articulate man who looked half his age talking about his journey to veganism. He spoke of how people are socially programmed to eat meat from birth. He talked about the health consequences of a meat-based diet (diabetes and heart disease to name a few).  He shared how thousands of gallons of water are used to raise one pound of meat and how animals are tortured and enslaved during their short lives in order to feed our meat hungry culture. He promised his book would lay out even more arguments against eating the standard American diet.
Following the lecture The Skeptical Husband surprisingly lined up to buy an autographed copy of the book. I looked at him and said, “You know what’s gonna happen if I read that,” and sure enough less than a week later I was a vegan. As the holidays drew near my resolve weakened and the Skeptical Husband was happy that I was willing to compromise and eat a pescatarian diet (a seafood consuming vegetarian). To be honest, showing up to family dinner to find that there was nothing for me to eat but lettuce leaves was starting to wear on me.
I think everyone should explore veganism and the ideas behind it at some point during their lifetime. And the sooner the better! There are a number of great books and movies to educate and motivate you and I’ll let them do the convincing. So if you’re ready, I highly recommend the following:
The World Peace Diet by Will M. Tuttle
         * The Skeptical Husband is reading this now and will post his review in a few days.
Forks Over Knives  Starring T. Colin Campbell, Caldwell B. Esselstyn Jr
The Engine 2 Diet by Rip Esselstyn
The China Study by Thomas M. Campbell II
The Kind Life website: